Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
Fetal Heart Condition
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Questions in this forum are answered by pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This forum is for questions and support about pediatric heart problems, symptoms and topics such as heart murmurs, palpitations, fainting, chest pain, congenital heart defects (including management and intervention), fetal cardiology, adult congenital cardiology, arrhythmias and pre-participation athletic screening.

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Fetal Heart Condition

Hello, I am wondering if anyone has heard of a fetal heart "pointing in the wrong direction."  Well, those are the words our OB/GYN used.  He said that all aspects of the heart seem to be fine -- though it appeared to be that the heart was pointing to the right . . .  I think that's what he said.  He said he "just wanted to be sure" and has set an appointment up for us with another physician to get a second opinion.  I am quite perplexed by this.  The heart showed good development of all four chambers; only, according to the physician, the heart wasn't pointing as it normally should . . .  I don't know what to think.  I've looked online and have seen no mention of such a condition.  Can my baby function normally like this?  I mean, if the heart is perfect, what could go wrong?  I am worried and confused by what the doctor has told me.  I just want my baby to be okay.  Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
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When fetal ultrasounds are performed, they do check for the orientation or “situs” of the organs on the chest and abdominal cavities.  If the heart is “pointing in the wrong direction” it implies that it is not pointing towards the left side of the chest.  It could be pointing straight towards the breastbone (called mesocardia) or into the right chest (called dextrocardia).  

It is extremely important to get the input of a pediatric cardiologist regarding the details of the fetal heart anatomy.  Just having 4 chambers does not mean that the heart is normally formed.  If the abdominal organs are in their proper position, and the only organ in the wrong position is the heart, then there is a 95% chance that the heart will be abnormally formed. On the other hand, if all of the organs in the chest and abdomen are in reversed positions (“situs inversus totalis”), then the likelihood of congenital heart disease is extremely small.  One would expect the child to function normally from a cardiac perspective.  

Finally, if there is isolated dextrocardia, they also have to look for other abnormalities of the spleen and abdominal organs.  Your perinatologist and pediatric cardiologist will be able to give you more details after the higher level scans are performed.  Best of luck.
2 Comments
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907316_tn?1242507529
The term you are looking for is Dextrocardia...I personally don't know much about it but if you google it you will find plenty on it..
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